Rita Wicks-Nelson and Ancella Radford Bickley
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This interview is one of series conducted concerning Oral Histories of African-American women who taught in West Virginia public schools. Mrs. Velma W. Twyman was born in Rayville, Louisiana. She gives us very detailed information about her family and childhood throughout the interview, which includes a small section on holidays during her childhood, her perceptions on her family's wealth, the dating situation in her family during her childhood, her husband and children, domestic relations and family life, and very detailed information about her experiences with race relations during childhood and how her parents shielded her from the worst of the discrimination. Race relations is a very important topic, and she goes on to discuss struggling to get proper wages, racist events she remembers, Civil Rights, and racially biased media portrayals. She also tells us about her childhood high school (including sports and a dance) and her education at Grambling College in Louisiana, as well as teachers and professors she knew. Her teaching career is another topic, and she describes the schools she taught at as well as friction between her and the students & parents. There are numerous other discussion points to this interview as well, including: losing their house in a fire and a merchant (one of their cousins) who helped them out afterwords; religion in her life; World War II and the Korean War (three of her brothers served in these wars); relationships between husbands and wives in general; her teaching career; language and slang; music; schools she taught at; how she came to WV; social events; her domestic relations; people who influenced her; her perceptions about herself; regrets she has and her dreams in life; significant events in her life; God and her spirituality; and many other topics. She ends with a story about a racist incident she dealt with.
Interview is included in the Marshall University Oral History Collection. The index number is OH64-811.
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Marshall University Special Collections, OH64-811, Huntington, WV.